Kerry No Friend to Investors, Shareholders' Group Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - Two out of three voters in the 2004 elections will be investors, says a group that represents their interests; and based on his past votes, those investors need to beware of Democrat John F. Kerry.

The American Shareholders Association, an investors' watchdog group, studied Kerry's 19-year record on investor issues, and it found that Kerry consistently opposed a capital gains tax cut as well as Individual Retirement Accounts.

"The best way to sum up Kerry's record on investor issues -- all talk and no action," said Daniel Clifton, executive director of ASA.

"Despite his pro-investor rhetoric, not once has Kerry voted to reduce the capital gains tax, not once has Kerry voted to index capital gains to inflation, and not once has Kerry voted to reduce the double tax on dividends," Clifton said in a press release.

Clifton said even worse was Kerry's "consistent opposition" to Individual Retirement Accounts, which currently provide retirement savings for millions of American families, ASA said.


Since winning the Democratic nomination, Kerry claims he voted to reduce the capital gains tax, the ASA said. However, the group noted that it could not find a single example of Kerry voting to reduce the capital gains tax.

In fact, said the ASA, Kerry voted to increase the capital gains tax by 40 percent in 1986; and he voted against reducing the capital gains tax at least 15 times since 1989.

"It is completely disingenuous for Kerry to stand up on stage and say he voted to reduce the capital gains tax," said Clifton. "He was a key player in ensuring the reductions that failed over the years never made it through and of the reductions that passed he consistently voted for amendments to strip the capital gains provisions.

"Investors should not be fooled by Kerry's blatant distortion of the facts on this key issue."

ASA believes that capital gains tax reductions increase returns for investors, boost the stock market, and spur new capital investment.

In another apparent flip-flop, ASA said Kerry called for abolishing the double taxation of dividends in a speech on December 2, 2002. But as soon as President Bush proposed the same initiative one month later, Kerry denounced the proposal -- and voted against it seven times in 2003, the ASA said.

The legislation did finally pass, however.

According to ASA, Kerry is now proposes reinstituting the double tax on dividends.

"Kerry's flip-flop on the double taxation of dividends has to be the worst example of a politician saying one thing and doing another," said Clifton.

"In just four weeks time, he went from calling for an abolishment of the double tax to calling the proposal a giveaway to rich. Thankfully, at the end of the process, we did not need his support and shareholders are better off due to the passage of this legislation."

Sen. Kerry voted to remove the tax deduction for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) in 1986 for families with incomes over $40,000 per year. He has voted against IRA expansion at least 10 times since then, ASA said.

"Kerry voted to restrict IRAs in 1986 for the 'wealthy,' and when all was said and done, participation among families still eligible for the program declined by 40 percent," said Clifton.

Demonizing the mutual fund industry

In its report on Kerry, ASA also criticized the Democrat for attacking the mutual industry in December - at a time when Kerry's presidential campaign was foundering.

According to ASA's report, "Trailing Howard Dean by double digits and watching mutual fund scandals unfold, Kerry use the opportunity to grandstand and appeal to the left wing of his base by calling a press conference to say it was time to fight 'a new age of organized crime' in the mutual fund industry."

Not only is such rhetoric irresponsible, said ASA, but a potential president has no business demonizing an industry that holds $7 trillion of working families' assets.

ASA said his attack on the mutual fund industry shows that Kerry is more interested in becoming president than helping investors, said Clifton. Moreover, Clifton added, "Kerry continues to talk down the economy because he is worried that an expanding economy hurts his chances to become president."

The American Shareholders' Association reports concludes that, "Based on his voting record, it appears that Kerry believes the only people who own shares of stock are families named Heinz and Kennedy."

That's no longer true, the group said, with 56 percent of families' assets currently held in stocks and mutual funds.

The American Shareholders Association is an educational project of the Americans for Tax Reform, a group that analyzes public tax policy from a market perspective.

To educate U.S. investors, the American Shareholder Association analyzes legislation affecting stockholders, and reports the public positions of elected representatives on these issues.

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